Sunday, 28 February 2021

New Peppers Melbourne Richmond Being Built

On track to open in mid-2022, construction has begun on the highly anticipated Peppers Melbourne Richmond by prominent Melbourne developer, owner and operator, Amber Property Group.

Located on historic Bridge Road, the 80-room hotel will be nestled in the vibrant inner-city suburb of Richmond. It will elevate the accommodation scene of Richmond, offering exceptional facilities, including a state-of-the-art gym and restaurant. The hotel will also be home to an incredible rooftop bar that will overlook Melbourne’s stunning skyline, the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Botanical Gardens. The rooftop bar is destined to be the new go-to destination before and after major sporting and cultural events for locals and guests alike.

Guests keen to experience the energy of Richmond and to live like a local will be able to indulge in the vintage and design shops of Church Street, and the bustling café and restaurant scene on Bridge Road and nearby Swan Street. Sporting fans will enjoy being three tram stops from the MCG.

Accor Pacific will operate the hotel. Simon McGrath AM, Chief Executive Officer for Accor Pacific, said “We are excited to be growing our presence in Melbourne within the suburb of Richmond, and we are proud to be developing our partnership with Amber Property Group who recently opened The Sebel Melbourne Ringwood. Creating jobs and investing in the future of the tourism and accommodation sector has never been more important and it is fantastic to see the sod being turned and construction underway.”

General Manager for Peppers Melbourne Richmond, Edmond Power, said, “It is fantastic to be part of the rejuvenation of Bridge Road. Peppers is going to be a wonderful catalyst and hub for regional Victorian’s and interstate visitors alike to enjoy what Melbourne’s inner east has to offer. The guestrooms and facilities will set this hotel apart from others. There is a huge sense of community pride within Richmond and we are thrilled to be part of this, we are looking forward to bringing the people of Richmond on the journey with us.”

Peppers Melbourne Richmond is due to open in 2022 and will be the third Peppers hotel in the Victorian capital, joining Peppers Docklands and the acclaimed Shadow Play by Peppers.

During the construction phase, the build will create 350 jobs and, once open, Peppers Melbourne Richmond will employ 40+ team members.


Khanh Hoa’s tourism sector looks forward to rebound in 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has costed Khanh Hoa province a negative growth of 10.5% and budget collection shortage of over 25%. Tourism is the hardest hit sector in the locality. The locality has sped up several stimulus programmes to rock the market in the coming time.

Around 138 tourism and hospitality firms and over 1,100 accommodation facilities now operate in Khanh Hoa province. Many of them shut down during 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, the picture was not so gloomy due to Vietnam’s success in containing the pandemic. Local tourism sector still survived with revenue from domestic visitors.

In the coming time, Khanh Hoa province looks to introduce stimulus tourism packages and new tourism products and services to attract visitors. In the instant future, it has deployed a contest for new logo and slogan for Khanh Hoa’s tourism sector to renew the province’s image in visitors’ eyes.

COVID-19 vaccines have sparked hope of economic recovery globally, especially in tourism industry. Khanh Hoa province, whose spearhead economic sector is tourism, is also looking forward to a big rebound in 2021.
Source: VNA

Vietnam National Administration of Tourism

IHG and Pro-Invest Build Brisbane CBD Presence With Two Premium Hotel Conversions

The huge momentum behind the popular Hotel Indigo and voco brands continues, as IHG Hotels & Resorts and Pro-invest Group build on their partnership with the signing of two high-profile conversion hotels in the Brisbane CBD.

voco Brisbane City Centre and Hotel Indigo Brisbane City Centre will become the latest additions to the River City's hotel scene, as Mercure Brisbane and ibis Brisbane rebadge under IHG's world-class upscale brands following a repositioning and extensive refurbishment.

voco Brisbane City Centre, which will overlook the Brisbane River and some of the city's best cultural institutions, promises to bring the brand's vibrant, reliably fun vision to life. Each of the hotel's 194 guestrooms will enjoy a full refurbishment to elevate them to premium voco standards, while the hotel's bar will get a complete makeover that will deliver a new era of hospitality and help it show off its sweeping river views when it opens later in 2021.

Then, opening in 2022, the riverside location of Hotel Indigo Brisbane City Centre will play into the essence of the hotel's neighbourhood story, as the hidden gems that surround the property will be weaved into the guestrooms, restaurants, meeting facilities, design and service offering. Designer Joseph Pang will be charged with revitalising the interiors of the 212-room hotel while the hotel's restaurant, bar and café will be completely reimagined.

The opening of these fantastic hotels signals strong growth in the Brisbane market for both Pro-invest and IHG Hotels & Resorts, sitting alongside Pro-invest's Holiday Inn Express Brisbane Central, which opened in 2017, and Hotel X, which IHG and Pointcorp are opening in the Fortitude Valley precinct in February 2021.

Abhijay Sandilya, IHG's Vice President, Development – Australasia, Japan & Pacific, said: “We are absolutely delighted to build our presence in Brisbane with the signing of two of our most colourful, dynamic and boutique brands. The personality that will be injected into the properties is going to be quite unlike anything the city has seen and we're incredibly excited to bring the community on the journey with us. With a prime CBD location that puts both hotels within walking distance to everything the city has to offer, voco and Hotel Indigo Brisbane are undoubtedly going to be the hotels of choice for both leisure and business travellers”.

Jan Smits, Co-CEO of Pro-invest, said: “It's very exciting for Pro-invest to sign our second voco hotel with IHG Hotels & Resorts, alongside voco Auckland City Centre, and to bring the Hotel Indigo brand into our portfolio. It builds on the great partnership we have with IHG, which currently includes 11 open or pipeline Holiday Inn Express properties.”

“The location of these two hotels couldn't be better for business and leisure travellers. With the power of the IHG distribution and loyalty systems, coupled with rich and exciting brands, we are confident that guests will enjoy all that these hotels have to offer,” said Jan.

The Hotel Indigo brand has gone from strength to strength over the years, with 126 open globally and another 99 in the pipeline. In Australasia, Hotel Indigo Adelaide Markets will open in March 2021, the first to open in this market, with more to come in Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland.

Currently, there are two voco hotels in Australia – voco Gold Coast and voco Kirkton Park Hunter Valley - with a third, voco Melbourne Central slated to open later in 2021, along with future openings in Sydney and Auckland.

IHG currently has 56 hotels operating under five brands in Australasia, including: InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, voco and Holiday Inn Express, with another 34 in the pipeline. [1]

About IHG®

IHG® (InterContinental Hotels Group) [LON:IHG, NYSE:IHG (ADRs)] is a global organisation with a broad portfolio of hotel brands, including Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas, Regent Hotels & Resorts, InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts, Kimpton® Hotels & Restaurants, Hotel Indigo®, EVEN® Hotels, HUALUXE® Hotels and Resorts, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts, voco™, Holiday Inn® Hotels & Resorts , Holiday Inn Express®, Holiday Inn Club Vacations®, avid™ hotels, Staybridge Suites®, Atwell Suites™, and Candlewood Suites®.

IHG franchises, leases, manages or owns nearly 6,000 hotels and 890,000 guest rooms in more than 100 countries, with approximately 1,900 hotels in its development pipeline. IHG also manages IHG® Rewards Club, our global loyalty programme, which has more than 100 million enrolled members.

InterContinental Hotels Group PLC is the Group's holding company and is incorporated in Great Britain and registered in England and Wales. Approximately 400,000 people work across IHG's hotels and corporate offices globally.

Visit for hotel information and reservations and for more on IHG Rewards Club. For our latest news, visit: and follow us on social media at:, and


The NSW Government is giving the state’s regional visitor economy a $3 million boost through a funding program to support the development of new attractions and visitor infrastructure and to refresh existing tourism products.

The Destination NSW program will help businesses and regional communities recover from the impact of drought, floods, bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic by creating jobs, enhancing the appeal of regional NSW, and improving the quality of the visitor experience.

Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said the Tourism Product Development Fund would help position the NSW visitor economy for long-term growth.

“NSW is open for business and welcoming visitors, and business owners and entrepreneurs are hungry for growth and new opportunities – this program will help visitor economy stakeholders to achieve just that.

“We may be operating in a new, COVID-safe environment but the desire to travel and have new experiences is stronger than ever,” Minister Ayres said.

The Tourism Product Development Fund comprises two streams:
  1. Refresh and Renew Fund: offering $10,000 grants to regional tourism operators to update their product or experience
  2. Experience Enhancement Fund: provides between $50,000 and $150,000 in matched funding to assist operators upgrade existing accommodation to be 4 to 5-star, upgrade business and leisure event venues and facilities, repurpose existing infrastructure to provide new facilities or experiences not currently available within the destination, or to create new tourism attractions or experiences
Applications are now open and close on 31 March 2021. For information and to apply visit 

From the heart: Tourism Vancouver launches campaign inviting residents to share their love

Tourism Vancouver has launched a campaign to celebrate what locals adore most about their beloved city. In line with current provincial health orders, Tourism Vancouver’s new promotion features how people can safely support businesses in their neighbourhood now.

Named #LoveVancouver, the new campaign calls on residents to post snaps and videos on their social channels of their favourite restaurants, outdoor adventures, special experiences, and memories in the city for a chance to win some very Vancouver prizes. To rekindle the love and passion locals have for the place they live, #LoveVancouver reminds residents of all the different ways to rediscover the incredible experiences offered by the destination’s many tourism businesses. More than ever, the city’s tourism industry depends on Vancouverites taking to heart their responsibility to stay and support local now, and throughout this upcoming summer.

By visiting the website of Tourism Vancouver Metro Vancouverites can find getaway inspiration and offers to help plan and book their trips to the city this summer and into the fall. When the time is right to travel again, it will be the perfect opportunity for residents to re-discover their first love, Vancouver, as a proud local with the wonder of a first-time visitor!

The new #LoveVancouver landing page, complete with a love letter to residents, will highlight the best of the city including:
  • Specials for locals
  • Arts and Exhibits on now
  • Attractions and Activities
  • Places to stay
  • Chances to win Vancouver prizing
  • Locals are encouraged to check back often as new content will be added throughout the coming weeks and throughout the summer.

Tourism Vancouver will continue to follow the lead of Provincial Health Officials as the campaign rolls out in phases. When appropriate, the campaign will incorporate other activations and elements to bring vibrancy back to the city. Tourism Vancouver’s #LoveVancouver campaign will also support provincial and national promotions, including #CanadaNice, to intensify pride of place and reignite the love for travel when the time is right.

“When the time comes to reconnect with family and friends, we are asking residents to make Vancouver their destination for this year’s getaway to support local businesses,” said Royce Chwin, President and CEO, Tourism Vancouver. “Locals will have the unique opportunity to rediscover the Vancouver they love in a way they’ve not been able to before. With health and safety measures in place including timed entries, attractions can be experienced almost as a private tour; and the cityscape can be enjoyed from a new vantage point in any of our downtown hotels at amazing rates. As a city immersed in nature, a summer vacation in Vancouver is like no other – and it’s all in our backyard.”


The nature of Wakayama’s coast in Japan is a breath-taking sight to behold

From the jagged cliffs of Sandanbeki and protruding monoliths of Umikongo, to the smooth rock plateau of Senjojiki and the romantic Engetsuto island with its signature shape, Wakayama attracts many nature seekers every year.

Enjoy the view from lighthouses at Cape Shionomisaki and Kashinozaki Point or drive the curved Kushimoto Bridge before relaxing at Shirahama Beach. 

Wakayama Prefecture has no shortage of brilliant landscapes carved by the water.

Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO)
Facebook Visit Japan Now

Accor announces the signing of Sofitel Cebu City

Accor is expanding its presence in the Philippines with the signing of Sofitel Cebu City, a 195-room luxury hotel which will debut in 2025. The hotel joins a pipeline of 17 committed projects across the country which will see an extensive array of internationally renowned hospitality brands arrive for the first time.

Sofitel Cebu City will encourage guests to 'Live the French Way' with its 'magnifique' array of experiences which embrace local culture, showcase the best of gastronomy and celebrate wellbeing. The hotel's entertainment amenities will include two restaurants, a lobby lounge, executive floor lounge and rooftop bar. Business travellers can benefit from a business centre, fitness centre, swimming pool and spa, while events come to life in the hotel's meeting rooms and ballrooms. Situated in the Cebu Business Park, the hotel will become part of the landmark mixed-use tower designed by SOM, one of the world's leading architecture, interior design, engineering, and urban planning firms.

“We are extremely pleased to be expanding our footprint in Cebu with the signing of Sofitel Cebu City. Our partners' commitment to a long-term partnership with Accor in these difficult times demonstrates the trust and the confidence they have in our group, the popularity of our brands across various segments, our proven track record of operational excellence and the relationship-driven approach and flexibility towards owners and investors,” said Garth Simmons, Chief Executive Officer, Accor, Southeast Asia, Japan and South Korea.

Jose Soberano III, CEO of Cebu Landmasters, commented “We believe that Cebu is a destination with enormous potential. Sofitel Cebu City will ensure that we can offer both corporate and leisure travellers a luxury offering in the central business district of this prosperous port capital. We are confident that the hotel's excellent array of entertainment amenities and business offerings will ensure that Sofitel Cebu City becomes a hub of hospitality in this key destination. We are very happy and proud that we can partner with Accor as top and renowned hotel operator for this exciting project.

We remain confident in the longevity of the tourism industry and its future success as the world returns to travel following this challenging period.”

Accor is one of the leading international operators in the Philippines with seven hotels across three regions and a strong pipeline of 17 committed projects across the country. Sofitel Cebu City joins a family of over 120 chic and remarkable Sofitel hotels and resorts in the world's most sought after destinations.

P&O Pacific Partnership Backs Community Fundraising Campaign to Fix Leaking Corridor Roof Adjoining Maternity Unit and Children’s Ward at Vila Central Hospital

The P&O Pacific Partnership, which is funded by the generous donations from the cruise line’s guests, has thrown its support behind the fundraising campaign to repair the corridor roof adjoining Vila Central Hospital’s maternity unit and children’s ward.

The Partnership has committed AUD$21,000 (VT1.9 million) to the ‘Giving Hands Vanuatu’ fundraising campaign initiated by Carissa Jacobe, managing director of maritime manning agency South Sea Services.

This donation represents a significant portion of the overall cost of fixing leaks in the corridor roof, which has contributed to flooding of the walkway in recent years.

Sture Myrmell, President of P&O Cruises Australia, praised Ms Jacobe for her community leadership in developing the fundraising effort.

Mr Myrmell said it was also heartwarming to see that Ni Vanuatu people living abroad were among the people who have contributed to the project.

“Our ships cannot visit Vanuatu at the moment due to the covid situation but the people of Vanuatu are always very close to the hearts of our guests,” Mr Myrmell said.

“The P&O Pacific Partnership donation to the ‘Giving Hands Vanuatu’ fundraising campaign gives our guests another opportunity to show how much they care for the people who make them feel so welcome when they cruise to Vanuatu’s beautiful islands.

“I know that our guests would take the view that newborns deserve the best possible start in life and it is good to know that the corridor roof can be repaired for the benefit of the mothers and babies and their visitors.”

Ms Jacobe thanked the P&O Pacific Partnership and the cruise line’s guests for the welcome donation for the hospital project. She said ‘Giving Hands Vanuatu’ would be assisting with other local needs as they become known.

“We have begun other projects at Vila Central Hospital such as water blasting corridor walkways, fixing sinks, cleaning the ward bathrooms and handwashing stations, replacing windows and louvers in the wards and we have had a team of plumbers repairing the plumbing,” Ms Jacobe said.

The P&O Pacific Partnership is funded from a one dollar contribution on each guest booking with a number of projects supported in Vanuatu in recent years.


Spanish Tourism Authority restarting Chinese outbound tourism

Turespaňa, the promotion agency of the Spanish national tourism ministry, is preparing for destinations in Spain to welcome the new wave of Chinese visitors after the end of the pandemic.

The majority of Chinese outbound travelers are eager to start going abroad again as soon as it appears to be safe and borders are reopened. Their demands and expectations however have changed during the pandemic. They are more open to visit new destinations and more interested in nature and smaller cities than before, as well as in travelling in small groups of family members or friends.

ADVANTAGE: TOURISM is the name of the program Turespaňa is using. It has been developed by the experts of the COTRI China Outbound Tourism Research Institute and a number of partner organisations. The sustainable approach for the Chinese market is based on trainings for the knowledge transfer about the specific interests of different market segments and accordingly the development of bespoke offers. Higher quality leads to higher satisfaction, resulting in recommendations of the visitors to their peers back home. In this way money saved on marketing can be used for the education and empowerment of the Spanish tourism service providers and can attract affluent Chinese visitors to other parts of the country outside of the traditional main season.

Spain attracted almost 700,000 Chinese in 2019, but most of them visited only Barcelona and Madrid, adding to the problem of overtourism, while ignoring the many other attractive regions and cities. The new curiosity of many Chinese to get closer to the local nature and culture, including gastronomy, is supported with the tools of ADVANTAGE: TOURISM to benefit the Spanish tourism industry and to develop a successful long-term engagement with the Chinese market.

“Chinese travelers do not fly all the way to Europe to go to the beach and most of them do not even come for the sunshine. Provided with the right offers and interesting stories, they will not only add to the number of visitors to Spain, but will bring benefits to new regions” says Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt, CEO of COTRI.

Other national and regional tourism authorities are currently considering to join the ADVANTAGE: TOURISM program. Now is the right time to prepare for the future wave of Chinese outbound travellers, as many destinations will compete for them and the old way of travelling in big groups for sightseeing and shopping is getting out of fashion in China.

Learning the secrets of Sherry in Jerez or visiting the roots of the art of Flamenco in Sevilla, finding inner peace on the Camino de Santiago, or sampling fine dining in San Sebastian, Spain has more than the crowded Ramblas in Barcelona and mediocre Chinese food in Madrid to offer.



The NSW Government is calling on tourism attractions and hospitality businesses to register for the Dine & Discover COVID-stimulus program ahead of the progressive pilot trials and state-wide rollout in coming weeks.

Eligible businesses must have a COVID-safe plan and register to participate in the program, which is currently being tested in The Rocks and Broken Hill as part of the first pilot.

The following businesses are invited to register:
  • Cafés and restaurants
  • Pubs, taverns, wineries, bars and clubs
  • Scenic and sightseeing transport
  • Cinemas
  • Museums, galleries and historic sites
  • Zoos, botanic gardens, wildlife parks and nature reserves
  • Performing arts operations, theatres and entertainment centres
  • Amusement, theme and water parks
  • Recreational activities such as go-karting, indoor climbing, mini-golf, billiards, bowling or ice-rinks
  • Outdoor adventures
  • Travel agencies and tours

In the coming months, every NSW resident aged 18 and over will be eligible for four $25 Dine & Discover NSW vouchers worth $100 in total. Two vouchers can be used for dining out at restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs and clubs, and two vouchers can be used for entertainment and recreation, including cultural institutions, live music, and arts venues.

Residents can use their vouchers to dine at businesses from Monday to Thursday, and spend on activities at arts, entertainment and tourism businesses, seven days a week (excluding public holidays).

For more information about Dine & Discover NSW, call Service NSW on 13 77 88 or book a call with a free Business Concierge. You can also find out more online at


Destination NSW

Only in Canada! 5 Curious Winter Adventures

Canada does winter like no other destination, with residents eagerly embracing the cold and finding original ways to dive into the snowy white stuff. Case in point: several local National Hockey League players, along with Olympic Gold Medallist ice skater, Patrick Chan, flew to the remote mountains of British Columbia to shoot pucks on a mountaintop rink. Because, why not?

While Aussies dream and plan for their next North American winter adventure, these quirky off-slope frolics will pique your curiosity and spark your imagination.

1) Frosty whites

At the sprawling Peller Estates Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, liquid gold awaits at the igloo-like 10-below Icewine Lounge. Constructed out of 13,607 litres of ice, including an ice bar and ice benches, the lounge is kept at a chilly –10˚C, the ideal temperature for harvesting ice wine grapes.

Here, visitors can sip on sweet nectar produced from grapes that have been frozen on the vine and learn fascinating facts about Canada's ice wine industry (did you know Canada produces more ice wine than any country in the world?).

2) Enchanted effervescence

Prepare to be dazzled in David Thompson Country, Alberta, where guests can chase magical ice bubbles (created from water-dwelling bacteria expelling methane gas) and icefalls on an excursion with Pursuit Adventures. Tours begin with a guided snowshoe or winter hike through fragrant pine forest, towards a scenic viewpoint overlooking the Cline River Canyon.

After taking enough pics to set your Insta feed on fire, head into the canyon where you'll marvel at cascading icefalls and hunt for frozen ice bubbles on Abraham Lake. A picnic lunch, hiking poles and ice cleats complete the ethereal winter experience.

3) Chunky shucks

Tranquility Cove Adventures' Ice Fishing for Oysters experience treats guests to an all-you-can-eat adventure along the Brudenell River on Prince Edward Island. Participants wield chainsaws and oyster tongs to cut through the ice and reach the coveted crustaceans, then clean, shuck and eat them beside a blazing bonfire. Since oysters fatten up to hibernate through the colder months, they're particularly plump and juicy in winter.

4) Thrill of the chill

Niagara Falls, Ontario is particularly beautiful in winter as ice build-up creates the illusion of frozen waterfalls, misty blankets envelope trees, and nightly illumination contributes to a mesmerising façade as colours that sparkle off the ice. Check out the Thrill of the Chill, a series of itineraries spotlighting the region's year-round attractions, perfect for winter touring, including the spectacular Journey Behind the Falls; the tropical Bird Kingdom and Butterfly Conservatory; and even an indoor waterpark.

5) Skiing with a twist

You're probably familiar with curling… but how about skijoring? Once a mode of Nordic winter travel, the now-competitive sport involves a skier pulled along the snow by horse, dog or snowmobile. Skijor Canada hosts several skijoring events each year, including the popular SkijorDue in Millarville, Alberta, featuring skijoring races and stunts, fondue and poutine, craft beer and cocktails, and an epic après party.

6) Take a (cold) bath

Fancy a winter swim? There's nothing quite like ice swimming for a rejuvenating pick-me-up – and it's no quick dip. The extreme sport involves distance swimming in water –5˚C or colder, with serious competitors aiming to complete the ambitious Ice Mile: swimming 1.6 kilometres in frigid waters. Fun fact: the International Ice Swimming Association aims to grow ice swimming into a globally recognised Olympic sport. Take the plunge in Lake Ontario, Joffre Lake in BC, or Beachy Cove in St. John's, Newfoundland.


Saturday, 27 February 2021

New ‘Tradewinds and Trains of Australia’ Holiday Packages in Australia

The closure of international borders has prompted more Australians to spend more time exploring our own continent instead. With this in mind, Australia’s leading small ship cruise specialist, Cruise Traveller, has launched two extended ‘slow travel’ packages for January 2022 combining journeys across Australia aboard the world’s largest and newest sailing ship and also the iconic Indian Pacific train.

The two new ‘Tradewinds and Trains of Australia’ packages - a 34-night itinerary from Sydney and a 33-night package from Perth – both feature a trans-continental voyage aboard the brand new, five-masted tall ship, Golden Horizon, which will be launched this May by new UK cruise line, Tradewind Voyages. Next summer, the huge, 272-guest square-rigger will grace our shores for the first time and, in a circumnavigation of the country, take modern-day seafarers to wild and remote places in southern Australia never visited by larger ships and rarely by other vessels.

As Tradewind Voyages’ exclusive Australian partner, Cruise Traveller first opened Golden Horizon’s Australian sailings for sale last November and ever since, the majestic ship has captured the imagination of scores of Australians, with a wave of bookings for her circumnavigation sectors next summer.

To meet demand and enhance the slow travel appeal of the journey, Cruise Traveller has released two new ‘no flight’ rail and sail packages:

Ex Sydney – 34-night package beginning January 6, 2022, with a 29-night voyage aboard Golden Horizon from Sydney to Perth, followed by two nights in a five-star Perth hotel and a three-night journey from Perth back to Sydney aboard the Indian Pacific train.

Ex Perth – 33-night package beginning January 2, 2022, with a three-night train trip to Sydney aboard the Indian Pacific followed by one night in a five-star Sydney hotel and a 29-night voyage aboard Golden Horizon from Sydney back to Perth.

Connections from other cities can be added.

The epic 29-night voyage from Sydney to Perth will feature 19 ports of call, with the spectacular sight of Golden Horizon expected to attract thousands of sightseers throughout the journey. Most of the destinations the ship will grace are secluded, pristine places that rarely feature on cruise itineraries such as Jervis Bay and Batemans Bay in NSW, Maria Island and King Island in Tasmania, Victor Harbour, Coffin Bay and the 120m-high Nullarbor Cliffs in South Australia and Israelite Bay and Bremer Bay in Western Australia.

Golden Horizon is modern, luxurious and spacious but also graceful and traditional in style, with the ship – boasting 6300 square metres of billowing sails – planning to be powered solely by the wind for 70 per cent of the time. She will feature a fine cuisine dining room, three pools, gym, library, spa sanctuary, four bars, a marina platform and a collection of kayaks, waterskis and wakeboards for guests to use. All 140 cabins will offer ocean vistas.

Meanwhile, the famous Indian Pacific train includes all-inclusive, regionally-inspired cuisine and beverages and included off-train experiences and excursions at outback locations like Broken Hill, Cook, Rawlinna and Kalgoorlie, with guests able to take in the passing scenery from their sleeper cabins, the restaurant or the lounge car.


Seven more relics recognised as special national ones

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has approved the recognition of seven special national relics, including the architectural relic of Ha Hiep communal house in Hanoi capital city’s Phuc Tho district.

The others include President Ho Chi Minh memorial complex in Thua Thien-Hue, Nguyen Xi tomb and temple in Nghe An, and Da Dia reef in Phu Yen in the central region; the Hiep Hoa Safety Zone II historic relic in Bac Giang and An Xa shrine in Hung Yen in the north.

The Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu’s Cai Chanh base was also named in the list.

The Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism and local authorities are asked to manage the relics in line with the Law on Cultural Heritage.

With the new seven special national sites, Vietnam now has about 120 relics and landscapes granted with the status.
Source: VNA
Tags: relic, special national, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc,
Photo: Da Dia reef in Phu Yen province (Photo: VNA)

Vietnam National Administration of Tourism

Angkor Wat ‘like never before’ campaign to revive Siem Reap

The Cambodia Hotel Association has called for people in Cambodia to join its social media campaign to help the recovery of the tourist sector in Siem Reap, a travel hotspot which has been hit hard by the effects of COVID-19.

Dubbed “#ANGKORLIKENEVERBEFORE”, the campaign involved creating and posting a 30-second video on social media which showcases the “ethereal experience” of visiting Angkor Archaeological Park and the magnificent remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century.

The campaign video, filmed by well-known Hungarian photographer and videographer Antal Gabelics, follows a Cambodian woman twirling in one of the many breathtakingly empty temples, highlighting that the temples are empty and waiting for you.

David-Jaya Piot, president of CHA – Siem Reap Chapter, said this campaign has been launched to attract people, both local and foreign, to come to visit Angkor while they will not be bothered by crowds of other tourists.

“Our new #AngkorLikeNeverBefore” campaign drives home the unique opportunity which remains for domestic tourists,” Piot said. “Only once in a lifetime do you have the chance to have the temples all to yourself. Without the crowds, the temples regain their inexplicable magic.”

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, tourism in Cambodia contributed 35 percent of the country’s GDP, with hundreds of thousands of local workers, talents and hotels being the “backbone” of the industry. However, the sector has run into one of the biggest crises in modern history due to international travel restrictions and fear of the coronavirus.

Cambodia’s famed Angkor Archaeological Park received 399,720 international visitors during the first 11 months of 2020, a decrease of nearly 80 per cent over the same period the year before, according to the state-owned Angkor Enterprise.

However, Cambodia has been globally recognised as “one of the safest countries to visit during the COVID-19 crisis”, with the third lowest number of confirmed cases in the world, thanks to the government’s effective and timely response.
Photo: Tourists visit Angkor Wat temple in Siem Reap province. KT/Khem Sovannara
Tags: Cambodia, Cambodia Hotel Association, Siem Reap, social media campaign, tourism recovery

Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office
c/o 3rd Floor, Department of Tourism, Ministry of Tourism and Sports, 154 Rama 1 Road National Stadium, Wangmai, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
Tel: +66 2038 5071-1

20+ Ways to Celebrate Black History Month in the DC Area

The African American experience is intricately entwined in the rich tapestry of Fairfax County's history and in America's story. As you celebrate America's Black history this year, you'll have the opportunity to visit sites around the region in person, or online, to reflect on an inspiring journey of hope, sacrifice, liberation, empowerment, and beauty.

Here are a few places that should be on your "must see" list, not just during Black History Month, but any time throughout the year.

**Be sure to check each description below for updated operating procedures due to COVID-19. Some of these sites may be temporarily closed, but are offering virtual experiences until they can safely reopen.**

1) Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

Although the museum is temporarily closed to the public due to COVID restrictions, this gem of a museum offers a multitude of virtual exhibitions, and online collections that explore the African American experience here in America. The only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture, this national treasure explores the topics of history, culture, race, and social justice through thought-provoking collections, stunning exhibits, and interactive multimedia.
Where: National Mall, Washington, DC
Hot tip: The best way to currently experience the best of the museum's online resources is to visit the NMAAHC's digital resource guide.

2) George Washington's Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon is currently open to the public and is utilizing a ticketed reservations system. The historic home of George Washington includes 25 interactive galleries and theaters featuring hands-on exhibits, slave quarters, and memorials to the contributions of 18th century slaves.
Where: Mount Vernon, Fairfax County, Virginia
Hot tip: Don't miss the current Museum exhibition on slavery at Mount Vernon: Lives Bound Together. Access to the exhibition is included in regular admission and is open through mid-July 2021.

3) Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

Honoring King's life and legacy, this is the first memorial on the National Mall devoted to a citizen activist for civil rights and peace. The MLK, Jr. Memorial is a tribute to a man of conscience, the freedom movement, and his message of equality, justice, and love.
Where: Tidal Basin, Washington, DC
Hot tip: Combine this stop with a visit to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, where King gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

4) Gum Springs

Gum Springs is a town of 2,500 residents that was established in 1833 by West Ford, a freed slave. It became a haven for former slaves, both freedmen and runaways, creating a self-sufficient community that thrived into one of the oldest African American communities in the United States.
Where: near Mount Vernon, Fairfax County, Virginia
Hot tip: Visit the Gum Springs Historical Society's Museum & Cultural Center, open Monday-Friday from 6-8pm and Tuesdays/Saturdays from 1-3pm. It's advisable to call to confirm hours before visiting.

5) George Mason's Gunston Hall

Located not far from Mount Vernon, Gunston Hall is the historic home of George Mason, the outspoken proponent of civil liberties and author of Virginia's Declaration of Rights, yet also a former slave owner. This sprawling site includes restored structures and interpretative actors throughout the grounds that depict the varying contributors, including slaves, that made the 18th-century household work.
Where: Mason Neck, Fairfax County, Virginia
Hot tip: Read more about this Founding Father's complicated relationship with slavery before you visit, to get a better understanding of his viewpoints. Purchase of a general admission ticket grants access to the grounds, museum, and limited access to the mansion. A Grounds Pass is available for you to explore the grounds on your own.

6) Laurel Grove School Museum

Closed in 1932 and restored by family descendants and interested citizens, Laurel Grove tells the unique story of a community's refusal to narrow its ambitions. Of all the “colored” schools that opened in the region, only Laurel Grove exists today as a “living museum.”
Where: Alexandria, Fairfax County, Virginia
Hot tip: The schoolhouse is currently closed due to COVID restrictions, but check their website as restrictions ease in the coming months to plan your visit.

7) Sully Historic Site

On the National Register of Historic Places, Sully Historic Site includes original outbuildings, representative slave quarters, and gardens in addition to the main house. Guided tours highlight early 19th century life of the family, their tenant farmers, and enslaved African Americans.
Where: Chantilly, Fairfax County, Virginia
Hot tip: Access to the park is free, but there is a small fee for guided tours of the main house. Starting in March, the park will introduce their Forgotten Road Tours which focus on the African American experience at Sully.

8) Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

Currently closed due to COVID restrictions, the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum is offering online access to stories of some of the greatest African American Air and Space explorers and innovators in American history. When you can visit in person, you'll find the world's largest collection of aviation artifacts which includes tributes to the Tuskegee Airmen, the heroic African American pilots of World War II. From the Space Shuttle Discovery to the world's fastest jet, plan to come see the world's most famous aircraft and spacecraft when restrictions are lifted.
Where: Chantilly, Fairfax County, Virginia
Hot tip: Don't miss the online exhibit Black Wings, which details the stories about how African Americans shared the widespread enthusiasm for flying, but they found themselves routinely denied access to training as pilots and mechanics.

9) Tinner Hill Historic Park & Monument

Tinner Hill is recognized as the location where the first rural branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was initiated in the United States. Today, a 15-foot monument constructed of pink granite honors the men and women of Tinner Hill who made this happen and nearby, visit the historic site and Zig Zag Monument, a sculpture that follows the original location of the segregation line.
Where: City of Falls Church, Virginia
Hot tip: Plan to visit the park when you can or watch the Tinner Hill Remembered video that was broadcast on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in January 2021.

10) African American Civil War Memorial & Museum

As the nation's only memorial to African American Civil War soldiers, this site is inscribed with the names of more than 200,000 members of the United States Colored Troops who fought in the Union Army. Nearby, the museum tells the stories and preserves the roles these brave soldiers played in ending slavery and keeping America united under one flag.
Where: U Street Corridor, Washington, DC
Hot tip: The museum is open for tours by reservation only. Visit their website to schedule yours today.

11) Frederick Douglass Historical Site

Cedar Hill is currently closed due to COVID-19 but offers online experiences for you to enjoy from home. At Cedar Hill, the former home of Frederick Douglass, visitors gain insight into the man who was a leading voice in the abolitionist movement. Restored to its 1895 appearance, the house is furnished with original objects and guided tours are available daily (the only way to access the house interior).
Where: Anacostia, Washington, DC
Hot tip: You can take a virtual tour of Cedar Hill online.

12) Smithsonian National Museum of African Art

The museum is currently closed due to COVID restrictions but offers many opportunities to explore their collections online. America's only museum dedicated to the collection, research, conservation, and exhibition of traditional and contemporary African art. Docent-led tours are available throughout the week and special events occur throughout the year. Admission is free.
Where: National Mall, Washington, DC
Hot tip: Make sure to check out their online exhibitions and their at-home activities.

Other notable spots:




The Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques (SIGGRAPH) Asia has announced Sydney as the host city for its 2023 conference and exhibition. 

The event brings the world’s most respected technical and creative minds together, further reinforcing New South Wales’ position as a leading global knowledge hub for creative industries. 

Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres, said: “New South Wales has the largest creative sector in Australia, and we expect the sector to be a key driver of the state's economic growth, exports and innovation over the next decade. 

Sydney is one of the world’s most creative cities and it’s great to see this latest win for the business events sector, which continues to play a key role in restarting our city and state’s economy as global communities reopen.” 

STB inaugurates a MICE virtual event

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) announced the launch of the SingapoReimagine MICE Virtual Show, the first such collaboration between STB and local MICE players. Organised by STB, the two-day event will be held from 3 to 4 March 2021 and is part of Singapore’s efforts to catalyse the MICE industry’s recovery and generate business opportunities for our partners. About 700 participants are expected at the show.

The event will feature a locally curated programme that includes live-streamed cultural and leisure tours, culinary masterclasses by celebrity chefs, and a live panel discussion with industry leaders on organising pilot events in Singapore. It will also facilitate 1-on-1 virtual meetings between participants and up to 40 leading suppliers like hotels, convention centres and tour operators.

Within the virtual 3D environment, participants can navigate the virtual tradeshow floor easily with their mobile devices and connect with exhibitors, such as Gardens by the Bay, Singapore Airlines and Sentosa Development Corporation. They can also catch up on various event programmes on demand and take part in trivia quizzes to win prizes. The top 5 voted buyers will each win a hosted trip to Singapore on Singapore Airlines, inclusive of a hosted stay and exclusive experiences.

To bring the SingapoReimagine MICE Virtual Show to life, STB has partnered established local event organisers (EO) MICE Neurol, Aspen Event Planners and TLC Events. The EOs have organised over 48 digital events between them in the last eight months, including providing production and event management services for the 2020 Alzheimer’s Disease International Conference, a 3-day event with over 1,000 delegates.

Dr Edward Koh, Executive Director (Conventions, Meetings & Incentive Travel), Singapore Tourism Board, said: “Singapore has started its journey to reimagine the future of business events, and we are doing so in partnership with our MICE industry to push new boundaries using technology and creativity. The SingapoReimagine MICE Virtual Show demonstrates how we are transforming industry models to seize new opportunities, and underlines our reputation as a safe, trusted and innovative destination for business events. We look forward to having delegates from around the world join us in this journey of exploration and reimagination.”

Kenny Goh, founder of MICE Neurol, said, “We are excited to partner STB for the SingapoReimagine MICE Virtual show, not just to deliver a platform to connect buyers and sellers, but also to co-curate experiences and gamification to enhance the Singapore destination experience. Singapore has both the physical and digital infrastructure to be the centre of global events and we hope to do our part to reignite the MICE industry and continue to brand Singapore as a leading MICE destination.”
Innovation in a time of disruption

The SingapoReimagine MICE virtual show aims to bring like-minded industry stakeholders together. It also presents an opportunity for local MICE industry players and tour operators to showcase their creativity, as they transform their businesses in the new COVID-19 environment.

STB has partnered MICE Depot to deliver the event’s digital content and live panel discussion. The event agency pivoted its business last year, tapping on STB’s Business Improvement Fund (BIF)[2] to develop its digital capabilities and cater to the strong demand for virtual and hybrid events.

Francis Tan, Director of MICE Depot said, “Partnering STB for this event has allowed us to showcase our technical know-how in creating digital content for events and also enabled us to sharpen our skillsets. With the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw a need to pivot and adapt our business. As such, we invested in the development of our own in-house event studio and created internal training programmes to equip our employees with skillsets for broadcasting events in order to create quality virtual and hybrid events.”

Participants can also look forward to 7 unique experiences exclusively curated for them, including live cultural tours at Waterloo Street and Little India; masterclasses by homegrown distillery Brass Lion Distillery and Malcolm Lee, chef-owner of the world’s first Michelin star Peranakan restaurant Candlenut; and a behind-the-scenes tour of one of Singapore’s oldest coffee shops, Killiney. To further enhance the experience, experience kits will be sent to selected participants, allowing them to participate alongside the sessions or enjoy the activities at their own pace.

Jamie Koh, founder of Brass Lion Distillery, said,” For this event, we’ve created a gin-tasting followed by a hands-on cocktail making session for participants to learn about the Brass Lion brand in a more engaging way. We are excited to share our brand story, and we hope that it will help us to bring the Singapore Dry Gin to more people beyond Singapore.”

Chef Malcolm, Candlenut, said, “I am happy to be able to connect with local and international foodies through this platform. For this culinary masterclass, I will be whipping up one of my simplest dishes and sharing a slice of the Peranakan culture in Singapore in the way I know best - food.”
Reshaping the future of travel

The SingapoReimagine MICE Virtual Show comes under the umbrella of the SingapoReimagine initiative launched by STB in November 2020 to reimagine travel for Singapore and the rest of the world, and to collectively shape the future of our tourism sector.

With health and safety as our top priority during COVID-19, Singapore has resumed MICE events in a gradual and calibrated manner, leveraging on technology to reimagine the future of business travel in Singapore.


Get ready for some all-you-can-eat oysters in Japan!

Many oyster shops gather at "Oyster Road", which is located in Toba, Mie prefecture. 

Most of these establishments offer all-you-can-eat deals especially during the oyster season from November to March when the oysters will be at their plumpest and juiciest. 

If all-you-can-eat oysters are not for you, a number of shops serve oysters meal set which comes with fried oysters or oyster rice and pickles. 

Reservations are recommended, as is an empty stomach!

Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO)
Facebook Visit Japan Now

Fairmont Ambassador Seoul Unveils New Grandeur of Modern Seoul from River to Rooftop

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts is pleased to announce the opening of the brand's first hotel in South Korea on February 24, 2021. Nestled in the Parc. 1 Complex, a stunning new landmark in the city's Yeouido district, Fairmont Ambassador Seoul is perfectly situated to host world leaders, business travellers, families and vacationing jetsetters, offering an extraordinary setting for unforgettable experiences. The hotel joins a collection of over 80 remarkable Fairmont addresses around the world where glamour meets culture, where special occasions are celebrated and where momentous, world-changing events occur.

Fairmont Ambassador Seoul is located on Yeouido Island, the historic hub of financial and government institutions on the Han River. The hotel will be connected to subway stations, the Hyundai Department Store and new high-rise office towers, offering unparalleled convenience. Combining panoramic views of nearby skyscrapers and the capital's iconic waterway, guests can discover a new paradigm in urban lifestyle culture, from riverfront access to glamorous rooftop experiences. Designed by world-renowned architect Richard Rogers, the Parc. 1 Complex immerses guests in a beguiling combination of Korean aesthetics and contemporary style, seamlessly harmonizing tradition and modernity.

“We're delighted to open a bold new chapter for the Fairmont collection, here in Seoul, ” said Garth Simmons, Accor Chief Executive Officer, Southeast Asia, Japan and South Korea “The Fairmont brand is known worldwide for its grand and awe-inspiring properties as well as its thoughtful and engaging colleagues who aim to make every stay a cherished and memorable experience. We are excited to continue the brand's journey in Seoul, a metropolis in which tremendous economic rise has created a story of multi-layered cultural experiences, embracing both tradition and modernity.”

Featuring 326 guestrooms and suites, the hotel is home to four dining venues, an indoor swimming pool, spa, fitness center and diverse selection of event spaces. Fairmont Gold is a luxurious hotel-within-a-hotel experience, where a dedicated team strives to deliver the highest level of personalized service to each guest. More than just another hotel floor, Fairmont Gold offers exclusive privileges including curated menus and preferential access to hotel facilities, as well as complimentary breakfast, afternoon tea, evening canapés and a private honor bar.

The hotel emerges as a major new address on Seoul's culinary map, with three restaurants and a bar. Showcasing the finest local ingredients, Spectrum celebrates the essence of Southeast Asian and Western cuisine with two open kitchens, bringing chefs and diners together for an immersive gourmet journey. Mariposa, located on the hotel's uppermost 29th floor, seduces Seoulites with a modern European fare of tasting courses, and innovative gourmet creations to be enjoyed indoors or al fresco on an iconic terrace. M29, the hotel's signature rooftop bar serves up unforgettable moments with bespoke cocktails and panoramic vistas of the Han River and Seoul skyline. The Atrium Lounge will be a place of genuine connections with artisanal coffees, curated teas and iconic champagnes served amid the light-filled space.

The hotel boasts one Grand Ballroom and ten meeting rooms, comprising a total of 1,995 square meters of event space offering the ideal venue for every occasion. Gallery 7 spans an entire hotel floor that offers a selection of spaces for functions ranging from family celebrations to upscale business meetings.

Fairmont Fit delivers a carefully curated selection of wellness experiences. An indoor swimming pool, fitness center featuring Technogym Artis equipment, and a spa, all complemented by a range of personalized training programs are offered to guests by dedicated fitness professionals.

“The team at Fairmont Ambassador Seoul are very much looking forward to bringing a new expression of urban luxury into the heart of vibrant Seoul. We feel privileged to be located within the landmark Parc.1 Complex, one of the capital's newest and most prestigious addresses. With Fairmont's timeless warmth and engaging personality, we aim to become Seoul's essential new gathering place for elite business leaders, innovators, and creators, from everyday social theatre to momentous occasions. For over a century, Fairmont hotels have been intrinsically tied to the communities we call home. We are very excited to present a landmark to Yeouido, offering a reimaged lifestyle which blends affluent urban culture with hyper-local culinary and mixology offerings,” commented Carl Gagnon, General Manager of Fairmont Ambassador Seoul – “We eagerly look forward to welcoming our first guests and crafting unforgettable memories together.”



The world's best beaches are waiting - 2021 Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best Beaches in the world

Just like you, we’ve been dreaming of sun, sand and crystal blue waters. So to help you get there, we’re announcing our 2021 Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best Beaches in the world. Explore the beaches for yourself to find and plan your post-pandemic paradise getaway.

1) Whitehaven Beach
Whitsunday Island, Whitsunday Islands
“I've been around the world and honestly this is one of the most spectacular places on the planet. From the crystal clear turquoise water to the miles of pure white sand, it is truly breathtaking.”

2) Santa Maria Beach
Cayo Santa Maria, Villa Clara Province
“Incredibly fine white sand that feels like flour, tranquil water, and a nice little breeze... this place is paradise. Some days, you can see fish swimming around or even dolphins from close distance.”
22 Hotels
2 B&B and Inns

3) Baia do Sancho
Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
“A beautiful remote beach that can only be reached by descending ladders and stone steps. The majestic bluffs will take your breath away.”
4 Hotels
166 B&B and Inns
3 Holiday Rentals

4)Grace Bay Beach
Grace Bay, Providenciales
“An absolutely idyllic setting. Golden sand edging crystal clear blue water with gently lapping waves - it's what postcards were made for.”
15 Hotels
1 B&B and Inns
104 Holiday Rentals
5) Saint Pete Beach
St. Pete Beach, Florida
“A great walking beach with white quartz sand, clear calm water, and seashells by the truckload. The most perfect place to watch the sun set over the ocean.”
34 Hotels
4 B&B and Inns
399 Holiday Rentals

6) Turquoise Bay
Exmouth, Australia
“Words cannot capture how spectacular this beach is. Long stretches of white sand and crystal blue water. World class snorkelling for beginners as well as experienced.”
5 Hotels
2 B&B and Inns
76 Holiday Rentals

7) Eagle Beach
Palm - Eagle Beach, Aruba
“Tranquil and pristine, the water is beautifully clear with no rocks or seaweed. The beach stretches as far as you can see.”
26 Hotels
5 B&B and Inns
239 Holiday Rentals

8) Spiaggia dei Conigli
Lampedusa, Islands of Sicily
“One of the marvels of the world. White sand beach, turquoise water, cooling sea breeze. Prepare for a 20-minute walk to get to the beach, but once you are there you feel like you're not on Earth.”
42 Hotels
40 B&B and Inns
43 Holiday Rentals

9) Ka'anapali Beach
Lahaina, Hawaii
“This beach is so gorgeous and accessible to everyone. There’s easy parking and a wonderful path to walk on along the beach with showers to clean off. You can hang out on the soft sand, go for a walk, snorkel, swim or paddle board in the clear, calm waters. It’s truly paradise!”
31 Hotels
11 B&B and Inns
1,971 Holiday Rentals
10) Baia dos Golfinhos
Praia da Pipa, Brazil
“Whenever you go, there's no doubt you'll see dolphins! But the landscape alone is breathtaking.”
20 Hotels
80 B&B and Inns
32 Holiday Rentals

Source: TripAdvisor

Travel & tourism sector witnessed 29.6% decline in deal activity during January 2021

A total of 57 deals were announced in the global travel and tourism sector during January 2021, which is a decrease of 29.6% over 81 deals announced in December 2020, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Aurojyoti Bose, Lead Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “The travel and tourism sector has been one of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic with ongoing lockdowns in some of the key markets and travel restrictions bringing business travels mostly to a halt. Resultantly, deal-making appetite also remains muted.”

The number of equity offerings, venture financing, mergers and acquisition (M&A), and private equity deals decreased during January 2021 compared to the previous month, while debt offerings deal volume increased.

Deal activity decreased in key markets such as the US, the UK, China and South Korea during January 2021 compared to the previous month.